There are a few essential documents that you must have before you can let out your property.
Before you rent out your property, check if it requires a Fitness Certificate. Most properties which were built, or converted for letting, before 1956 will need a Certificate of Fitness if they are to be used as rental properties. Certain properties are exempt, even if they were built before 1956.
If your property is not exempt, you must apply for a Fitness Inspection and you must have a valid Fitness Certificate to put the property on the rental market.
Energy performance certificate
Before you put a property on the market you need to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC must be entered onto the Northern Ireland EPC Register, provided by the Department for Finance & Personnel before you can market the property.
An accredited assessor must carry out the inspection of your property. You can find a list of accredited inspectors on the Northern Ireland EPC Register, provided by the Department for Finance and Personnel.
You have to show a copy of the Certificate, including the accompanying recommendation report, to any prospective tenant when they first enquire about the property. It is a legal requirement that you or your agent show this certificate and the report to anyone wishing to view the property so they have an understanding of how energy efficient the property is.
Once you have commissioned an EPC, your energy assessor will receive basic details from you and will then arrange to come and visit your property to do the assessment. During the assessment the energy assessor will collect information about your property, how and when it was constructed, the type and number of habitable rooms, dimensions of the building, the number of floors, amount and type of glazing, heating systems and fuel used. The assessor will use this information to calculate the rating of the building.
Your assessor should lodge your EPC onto the Northern Ireland register and provide you with a copy. Keep a copy of the 20 digit reference number assigned to your certificate. This number will allow you to access your EPC online. The Energy Performance Indicator on the certificate must be included with any advertisements for the property that are placed with commercial media, such as paid for listings on property websites or newspapers or on the agent’s brochure.
Failing to comply with the regulations around EPCs can lead to prosecution and a fine. Information on the legal requirements to provide an EPC and the legislative background can be found on the Department for Finance & Personnel’s website.
Gas safety certificate
If your property uses gas heating or has any gas appliances installed you must have a registered GasSafe engineer carry out a safety inspection.
On successful completion of the inspection you will be issued with a Gas Safety Certificate. You must give a copy of this certificate to your tenants and keep a copy for your own records. You are legally required to keep your Gas Safety Certificates for 2 years.
You will need to keep a record of when your annual gas safety inspection is due and keep your paperwork up to date as failing to have a valid certificate is an offence.